4,679 people were killed on the job in 2014. Of that 4, 679 people, 8.5%, were killed by electrocution. It is the second leading cause of death in the workplace. Most of these people worked in construction but it can happen often in other industries as well. This can happen by drilling and cutting through cables, using defective tools, failure to de-energize circuits and follow lockout/tagout procedures, failure to guard live parts from accidental contact with workers, unqualified employees working with electricity, improper installation, bypassing electrical protective devices and not using ground fault circuit interrupters.
Here is a list of things to keep in mind when working around electrical hazards:
- Assume all overhead wires are energized at lethal voltages and never assume a wire is safe to touch even if it looks insulated or is down.
- Never touch a fallen overhead power line.
- Stay at least 10 feet away from overhead wires when doing cleanup or other activities.
- When working at certain heights or handling long objects, survey the area for overhead wires.
- If an overhead wire falls across your vehicle while you are driving, stay inside and continue to drive away from it. If the engine stalls, stay inside and warn people not to touch the wire or the vehicle. Call the local electric utility company and emergency services.
- Never operate electrical equipment while standing in water.
- Never repair electrical cords or equipment unless qualified and authorized.
- Have a qualified electrician inspect electrical equipment that has gotten wet before energizing it.
- If working in damp locations, inspect electric cords and equipment to ensure that they are in good condition and free of defects, and use a ground-fault circuit interrupter.
- Always use caution when working near electricity.
It does not take many volts to be fatal. 120 volts can be very fatal in the right conditions. Our company would be glad to do electrical safety training for any size business. Awareness can bring the number of people who die from electrocution down.